Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable Trends That Will Shape 2022

December 21, 2021

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Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Saying that 2021 was challenging is probably the understatement of the year — and accounts payable was no exception. As we’re on the cusp of turning on our out-of-office notifications for the holidays, it is an ideal time to start putting plans in place to make sure you can hit the ground running after the break.

Remote and Hybrid Work Are Here to Stay

A study by Owl labs found that 80% of employees aged 22-65  expected to work from home at least three days a week once the pandemic is over. A Future Workforce report estimates that the number of employees working remotely will double by 2025.

85% of managers state that they believe having teams with remote workers will become part of the new normal 

To accommodate this shift, accounts payable teams will need a solution that is accessible from any location, one that provides a centralized source of comprehensive financial information. Since AP automation software such as Beanworks operates in the cloud, employees can access AP data and perform essential functions like paying invoices or signing off on approvals at the office, from home, or via portable devices.

supply chain

Navigating the Supply Chain Crisis

While the blocking of the Suez Canal by the container ship Ever Given was 2021’s most notorious supply chain disaster, its ripple effects continued to test an industry already under strain from the pandemic. With so much uncertainty, cash-strapped companies are taking longer to make payments, while suppliers are forced to accept longer terms, threatening the stability of their business.

Analysis of the current supply chain crisis has found that it is a key driver of inflation and could last for months, or even years. 

Moving forward, managing supplier relationships and streamlining AP operations will be key to protecting the supply chain. Automation of the payables process provides tools that facilitate faster payment, such as custom approval workflows for invoices and the ability for payments to be released either individually or in batches.

The dashboards in Beanworks also allow for the visibility of all AP workflows, meaning that there is less likelihood of things falling through the cracks.

AP workflow dashboard

Let’s Get Digital

The drive toward digitization is increasing, but when it comes to accounts payable many companies are still stuck in old habits. Research released by Censuswide also found that 72% of finance teams spend up to 10 people-hours a week, or 520 hours a year, working on AP tasks that could be automated.

On the positive side, research by Gartner found that digital capabilities were the one category where CEOs stated that they planned to increase investment. A survey by PYMNTS revealed that 86% of CFOs view the digitization of financial processes as key to improving customer satisfaction and revenue generation.

Despite these trends, paper checks are still the primary method used for B2B payments, making up 40% of all transactions. In addition, a report by Inside Public Accounting found that two-thirds of those surveyed devoted 0% of their net budget to transformative solutions, such as those utilizing artificial intelligence.

Reluctance to automate typically comes from a belief that current systems work adequately, that an automation solution will take too much time to implement, or that a company will not see ROI on the investment. A simple step to overcome these concerns is to use Beanworks ROI calculator. The tool estimates the benefits of automation based on a company’s current processes.

Overcoming reliance on legacy systems and processes will be key to increased productivity and financial health in the year ahead and beyond.

Learn more about how Beanworks can help you plan for a successful 2022

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